In Priesthood/Relief Society yesterday, we were taught that the prophet is the “mouthpiece” of the Lord. We were also taught to “…beware of people who set up the dead prophets against the living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence.” We are further told that the prophet “…tells us what we need to know.” Finally, we were advised that “…we will be blessed as we follow the living prophet.” There are some serious flaws in the doctrines being put forward, due to the vacancy of the role of Christ in our modern day salvation.
- What place does personal revelation have, if the the prophet is the mouthpiece by which answers are funneled to the saints?
- What value do the ancient scriptures have if the living prophets take precedence any time there is a conflict with the ancient (or dead) prophets?
- What is the new definition of a “slothful and not a wise servant,” if the prophet is to tell us what we need to know? How is that different from being commanded in all things?
- Are we trying to follow the living prophet, or are we supposed to look to Christ and live?
These are the conditions facing the House of Israel today. We are in a position to choose ye this day whom ye will serve. This life is a probationary state, a time for men to prepare to meat God. For this reason, you must answer the question for yourselves, and be judged by God how you answered. We cannot blame the current leadership for our failure to know God. They will be held accountable for dismissing their duties, and so will you!
Rather than focusing on what is immediately before us, lets go back to the beginning. Then we can see how contradictory our current advise has been. Perhaps, when we are humble, then we can begin our return.
Contradictions: Since the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were cast out of the presence of the Father and the Son, and this was labeled, “The Fall.” Christ’s atonement was done to satisfy the conditions of the Fall, and to Redeem all who would come unto Him. The Fall removed us from His presence, and Redemption then brings us back into His presence. Fall and Redemption is the entirety of the plan of salvation. Consider the experience of the brother of Jared:
“13. And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him [the brother of Jared], and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.”
Redemption from the fall is defined as bringing you back into the presence of Christ, and seeing Him in the flesh. This fits the pattern of the garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve were removed from Christ’s presence for the incidence with the fruit. Their redemption is to return back into Christ’s presence.
When the angel visited Adam, to ask him why he offered up sacrifices, the angels necessarily taught Adam that the sacrifice was meant to be in similitude of the sacrifice of Christ. In order for Adam’s sacrifice to be accepted, it needed to reflect Christ’s sacrifice in the garden of Gethsemane. Therefore, Adam was instructed that his offering in righteousness would be his only hope to reconnecting to Christ, redemption. When his offering was finally accepted, as was the brother of Jared’s, Adam would be brought back into Christ’s presence, redeemed.
Adam taught the principle of sacrifice to Abel, who offered up an acceptable offering the same. Enoch also offered up an acceptable offering. Noah brought the knowledge of redemption by sacrifice through the flood, and the scriptures have preserved that truth till our day. All who follow the examples of the Fathers will offer up a similar sacrifice, acceptable to, and reflective of, …the offering up of Christ in Gethsemane.
All the laws and the prophets hang on our offering up an acceptable sacrifice, in similitude of the sacrifice of Christ in Gethsemane. Such an offering can only be done as you have obtained the mind and will of Christ, thus being at-one-with Christ. Such a sacrifice, when accepted, produces the presence of Christ in the flesh, to make His “abode” with you forever. When we forget that the plan of Redemption necessarily requires the presence of Christ, in the flesh, to redeem us, …our sites are lowered to ceremonial rites, endowments, clothing, officiators, and men to convince us of our standing before God. Then our offerings are in vain. Our counsels speak the Lord’s name in vain. Our prayers become vain and repetitious. This is how truth is used incorrectly, and becomes contradictory.
2 Nephi 9:41
“41. O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.”
To Nephi, Christ was the objective. But throughout the history of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the people who apostatize were: those who removed the necessity to connect to the heavens and be redeemed, who “…changed the ordinances.” These placed the greatest importance upon ceremonial ordinances, ritual clothing, and shrines of worship. The officials who were responsible to operate such rites, were considered “the authorized,” and were treated as “the keeper” himself. Yet, they had no power to offer “real” salvation. As soon as the one in charge of the ordinances is considered the keeper of the gate, the ordinances begin to change, and the people begin the hollowing process of apostasy. This is what the scriptures refer to as the gutting of the temple, done by the Deuteronomists, in the time of King Josiah. This was why Lehi left Jerusalem with the plates, to preserve the plain and precious truths from being gutted. The purpose of the Book of Mormon was to replace the plain and precious truths that had been lost in the Bible, by people who changed the ordinances after Christ departed.
Nephi teaches that the keeper of the gate …is not a servant. It is the Holy One of Israel. It is Christ alone that offers redemption from the fall. But men, when in positions of office, are given a little authority (as they suppose), they exercise unrighteous dominion.
“15. For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;
16. They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.”
This is the pattern of all apostasies. It is no different now. We have redefined salvation through ritual ordinances and following men (modern prophets). No where in scripture are we told to follow a prophet. We have made men of authority, over the ceremonies, ceremonial clothing, and the temples housing the ceremonies, …we have made them into idols. We have placed them between us and God. Therefore they have become our idols. When the Children of Israel did the same with Moses, they were cursed to wander in the wilderness until they all died. Why do we think that this time it’ll work? It will not. Our salvation is dependent upon us returning to Christ, not to a prophet.
Return: Salvation and redemption is not offered by men. It cannot be obtained when ordinances have changed. The Lord instructs us how we can correct the problem. His instruction is to return to Him, to offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
3 Nephi 24:7
“3. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
4. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
This is what we must learn to offer up, …an offering in righteousness. The last few blogs I have written tell of how “the wedding garment” that we are to be clothed in must be reflective of the sacrifice being offering in righteousness. It is offered in similitude of the Only Begotten Son. Adam and Eve were clothed by Christ in a sacrificial offering, called “coats of skins.” The animals who sacrificed their life for their coats of skins, offered himself up as Christ would in Gethsemane. Thus, Adam and Eve were clothed in garments made of a sacrifice, in similitude of Christ. That is what makes an acceptable offering. That is how men are clothed in a wedding garment, when their sacrifice matches Christ’s.
5. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger, and fear not me, saith the Lord of Hosts.
Christ will come as a swift witness against those who claim some authority, some key, some power to control the salvation of men, as a keeper of the gate. Christ teaches that these are the sorcerers, adulterers, false swearers, who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and fatherless, who turn aside the stranger, …and do not fear HIM.
But, those who have offered an acceptable offering, express Godly fear. The Lord has provided a way for them to return, through all the rejection:
6. For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
7. Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts. But ye say: Wherein shall we return?
8. Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say: Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9. Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house; and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the fields, saith the Lord of Hosts.
12. And all nations shall call you blessed, for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of Hosts.”
Conclusion: Our return will require an offering in righteousness! The sacramental bread is our instruction in offering an acceptable offering. It represents the call to search the scriptures as the showing forth of our willingness to take upon us His name, to ponder constantly to always remember him, and to recognize His voice for us to keep His commandments which He has given them. Only then can we offer up an offering in righteousness, because our sacrifice will reflect Christ’s in Gethsemane.
As to the debate of which prophet to follow, dead or living, remember that redemption necessitates the presence of the living Christ, …and then receive the prophet that leads you there! That is how you truly know the difference between a prophet and a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
We are in a time where contention upon the true points of Christ’s doctrine has entered once again. Joseph Smith prophesied of this time. He wrote:
“62. Yea, and I will also bring to light my gospel which was ministered unto them, and, behold, they shall not deny that which you have received [what was restored through Joseph Smith], but they shall build it up, and shall bring to light the true points of my doctrine, yea, and the only doctrine which is in me [Christ].
63. And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.“
Wresting the scriptures: is tweaking them, twisting them, to make our current institution justified by them. This is in opposition to changing the institution …to fit the scriptures, which is what the scriptures were meant to do; to be a rock upon which we can build and be protected from the storm. However, when we undertake to cover our sins, or gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, …amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
I have been accused of making the gospel COMPLEX. “It is simple,” they say. “We don’t have to know Egyptian, or Greek, or Latin, to know the gospel.” I would agree that it is both simple and does not require Egyptian, Greek, or Latin. But I would add this question, “Is the gospel so simple that it does not even require us to read the scriptures? Are we to act upon the precepts of men, and not study to know what the Lord has preserved by the death of those in the scriptures?” Is it “simple” or is it “plain?”
In our condition of unfamiliarity with the ways of the Lord, we have ignored the 183 year old condemnation, wrested the scriptures, and trusted that our salvation would come if we had a man represent us in the presence of Christ (a prophet), rather than coming ourselves to the top of the mountain.
As a boy I was told to study my scriptures, …but as an adult I am told that I study too much. What is the gauge of too little or too much studying? Does it depend upon our obedience to the prophet? What does it mean to look beyond the mark? What is the mark anyway?
It is Christ’s gospel. It is Christ’s church that we must qualify for. It is Christ’s alone, and He is the only keeper at the gate in which we must enter, to obtain redemption and salvation. The man on the other side of the veil is the Holy One of Israel, …and not a servant. It is He alone that offers salvation. That is to whom I will seek. Any man placing himself between you and Christ is an idol, is an anti-Christ, and cannot be trusted. I will not allow any man stand between me and Christ. I will look to Christ and live. I recommend you do the same.